What Does Your Friendly Formatter Need to Format Your Book?

Nothing to do with books, but… coffee!

The must-have items are the manuscript, title page, and copyright page in a Word document and the ebook cover as a jpeg.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?

Until you look between the covers. Yep, pun intended. 🙂 Grab a book from your shelf and let’s go through it from front to back and identify all the things that your Friendly Formatter needs to give you a professionally formatted book.


This is optional. Peer approval can sell books. If an author or book reviewer has said something lovely about your book, put it right up front. It gets formatted similar to this, no italics when you already have quote marks:

“This is an awesome book, so moving. You have to read this!”—Publication Name

“Get out your hankies for tears of laughter and sorrow.” —Amy Author, New York Times bestseller

Blurb aka back cover copy

A few short paragraphs to tell the reader about your story. In an ebook, the blurb goes up front to remind a reader why they bought your book. For a print book, the blurb goes on the back cover.

Title Page

If you want to get fancy, your cover designer can use the text elements from your cover to create one image sized to fit your print book. Or your Friendly Formatter will use the text in a standard font.

  • title
  • subtitle
  • series name and series logo
  • author name
  • publisher (that’s you) logo

Copyright Page

For a page that is seldom looked at, there is lot of mandatory information.

  • year of copyright, including prior years, e.g. Copyright © 2011, 2015 by Amy Author
  • your full legal name
  • disclaimers such as
    • fiction—I made it all up…
    • memoir—my memories may not be what others remember…
    • health—I’m not a doctor…
    • legal —I’m not a lawyer…
  • publisher contact information, that’s an email where people can request permission to quote from your book
  • printing history if previously published, e.g.
    • Printing History
      First Edition: Big Name Publisher Inc. – August 2011
      Second Edition: Amy Author – October 2015
  • permissions if you used extensive quotes, songs, poems etc.; any Bible quote requires the version used
  • permissions if you used graphics from other websites
  • photo credits from images from stock photography sites
  • artist credit for original images
  • editor credit and link, including prior editors
  • formatter credit and link, Woven Red will add this
  • ISBNs, to be used for all ebooks across all vendors, unless you’re using vendor-issued numbers, then skip these
    • one for the ebook
    • one for the print book

Here’s a sample copyright page. Feel free to copy it if you’d like.


Front Matter

All of these items are optional and are presented in the following order. Works of fiction generally have a dedication and acknowledgements, and sometimes a letter to the reader.

  • letter to the reader (can also go in the back matter)
  • dedication
  • epigraph
  • dramatis personae (cast of characters)
  • foreword
  • preface
  • acknowledgments
  • introduction


This is the bulk of the book and includes:

  • prologue
  • content or story with scene breaks marked by ***, more on scene breaks
  • epilogue
  • afterword
  • conclusion
  • any images to be included in the work. Send these separately. Ensure the resolution is 300 DPI for photos and 600 DPI for line drawings and sketches.

Please, please, please, edit your content thoroughly before you send it to Your Friendly Formatter. A few typos are easily corrected. A lot of typos may involve extra fees and will certainly involve extra time. Yes, I could tell you stories. 😉 Also, if this book is part of a series, check for consistency between documents, e.g., chapter titling, front and back matter sequence, title page layout, and more.

Back Matter

These are also optional. Works of fiction generally have the first three items.

  • author page; including head shot, bio, website and social media links
  • next book; including cover, tagline, blurb, and excerpt
  • list of author’s other books
  • appendices
  • glossary
  • bibliography
  • index

Other Bits and Pieces

  • trim size, e.g. 6″ x 9″, the size of your print book
  • the ebook cover, 1560 x 2500 pixels, 300 PPI
  • if Woven Red is doing the cover, the selling price in $US for the barcode; unless you’re using a vendor-issued ISBN then skip this. If you’ll be selling in another currency, include that as well.

That’s a crazy long list. Longer than you expected, isn’t it? Fortunately, you’ve already done the hard part; written the book!

What Your Friendly Formatter Does NOT Need

Yes, there are some things that you need not include in your manuscript. Your Friendly Formatter will take care of them all.

  • table of contents
  • page headers and footers
  • page numbers
  • page breaks
  • multiple blank lines before chapter starts
  • margins other than a Word default of 1″ on all sides
  • page size set to trim size, letter size is good
  • fully-justified text, left-justified is good

Download a printable version of the Friendly Formatter’s checklist.

© 2018, Joan Leacott
photo courtesy of tiverylucky via freedigitalphotos.net. Thank you!

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